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Lebanon’s lockdown means more suffering for refugees

By February 15, 2021

Lebanon (MNN) — And Lebanon continues to languish in a severe lockdown, desperately trying to get its COVID-19 spike under control. The surge has peaked, but the country still sees almost 3,000 new cases per day.

Some health experts worry the spread could lead to a new strain of the virus, similar to those originating in the UK and South Africa. Uncontrolled spread in any community can give the virus a perfect environment in which to mutate.

Wissam Nasrallah of LSESD says, “From a health standpoint, we’ve reached a stage nationwide of what we call an uncontrolled epidemic, with limited additional health system capacity. Hospitals are at 97% capacity in intensive care units.” Because of this, the country has settled into a hard lockdown, with almost all businesses closed, even stores.

The effect on refugees

This crisis has taken a special toll on the country’s refugee population. Nasrallah says, “Refugees in this situation are vulnerable on both ends. If anybody falls ill, they have very little access to any type of health care. They’re suffering like most people, and probably more, from the economic fallout of the crisis. And in a situation of chaos, tension, or panic, refugees can be a scapegoat. We’ve heard, for example, a local party declare that once Lebanon gets vaccines, Lebanese need to be prioritized to get the vaccine before the refugees.”

This strategy would fail to protect the most vulnerable to the virus. It would also put more Lebanese in danger by not stopping the spread of the virus efficiently.

You can help LSESD show the love of Jesus to Lebanon during this crisis. LSESD seeks to care for the vulnerable and marginalized in society. They work heavily with relief work, inclusive education, and equipping local churches. Visit their website to learn how to pray and get involved in this work.

 

 

The header photo shows a Syrian refugees in Lebanon (Photo/caption courtesy of EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations via Flickr) https://flic.kr/p/ePqsiq